In 2014, Tanzania’s Ministry of Education and Vocational Training launched its new Education and Training Policy (ETP), which aimed to improve the quality of education for students in Tanzania. From reforming the curriculum and upgrading teaching and learning environments to including guidance/counseling and continuous assessment for students, this most recent national policy offers a higher level of monitoring, supervision, and management of education across Tanzania than its predecessors.
Before Quest Forward Learning came to Tanzania, most secondary school students passively took notes and focused on getting good marks on exams instead of preparing for successful lives. Quest Forward Learning provides the opportunity to help Tanzania’s education system move forward and ensure that its students learn actively and gain the skills that are useful for creating change and value within their communities. The fundamental expectations set forth in Tanzania’s 2014 National Education and Training Policy are also priorities shared by Quest Forward Learning. These can be assessed by reviewing the policy’s four main priorities:
1) Quality Education: The 2014 policy intends to improve the quality of education through relevant curriculum reforms, which are focused on academic, analytical, and entrepreneurial skills through all levels of education. Likewise, Quest Forward Learning emphasizes skills-forward learning. Students are given the opportunity to develop and practice skills through high-quality academic materials and student-centric, hands-on teaching and learning. Quest Forward Learning uses skills-focused quests, which allow students to demonstrate their skills through the artifacts they make. They thoroughly engage with and demonstrate ownership of their learning. Furthermore, Quest Forward Learning shapes students through Essential Habits that correspond with the policy’s emphasis on developing entrepreneurial skills at all levels of education.
The policy also recognizes science and technology as tools for enhancing teaching and learning, which relates directly to how Quest Forward Learning gives both teachers and students access to learning materials from various technological tools and platforms. With Quest Forward Learning, teachers are able to assess and provide necessary feedback to students through the technology that enhances the curriculum.
2) Youth Employment: The 2014 policy states that learners will be equipped with necessary skills and effectively assessed for future employment. Assessing skills is an essential component of the teaching and learning processes of Quest Forward Learning. For example, the course “Thinking by Design” enables students to acquire new ways of thinking that help them generate innovative solutions by improving efficiency, quality, productivity, and user satisfaction. Throughout each class, student skills are consistently assessed by mentors using Skills Checks, which promote discussion and provide actionable feedback to help students improve and develop skills effectively. To determine student progress, skills also are assessed using the Essential Habits benchmarks. All assessments measure the progress of students to ensure that graduates are self-reliant and possess the necessary skills to participate meaningfully in “the national development.”
3) Equity Issues in Education: The 2014 policy articulates the government’s intention to ensure equality in accessing education and training for all groups at all levels. Quest Forward Learning emphasizes this intention in the development of quests. One of the criteria in designing quests is that each one should include varieties of resources for both learners and teachers while encouraging the development and breadth of knowledge. For example, a single quest may include documents or text, pictures, videos, or animations. Regardless of a student’s learning preference, they can benefit from having these options as resources, and their progress will develop at the same pace.
4) Education Management: The 2014 policy emphasizes mutual cooperation between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar on matters related to education, so as to ensure that students in both areas acquire appropriate knowledge and skills. Quest Forward Learning officially launched in six schools in Zanzibar for the 2019 school year. The policy also insists the government of Tanzania must create a good environment for establishing partnerships and mutual cooperation, for both implementation and educational training at the regional and international levels. This is reflected in the Quest Forward Learning methodology, and in how school administrators and mentors receive direct and ongoing training and assessment from the OEF TZ Team. In this way, the methodology is highly interconnected and consistently implemented across the globe.
While there are specific differences in how education is viewed, it is imperative to see what connects Tanzania’s national education policy with Quest Forward Learning. Both hope for the same outcome—the expectation that all students will become instrumental in solving larger issues in their respective communities. Concentrating on these shared goals will go a long way to making them a reality for future students.